If your BJJ gym is like most gyms out there, the chance of rolling with your instructor doesn’t come up that often, since they may not have the time and there may be multiple advanced students already in line. But when it does happen, there are certain things to consider in order to get the most out of it.
First of all, let us start by saying that rolling intensely with your instructor is ok, however let us further discuss some points first.
1. Observe the technical mastery. When you’re sparring with your professor, unless you’re training at some very high level centers, you’re most likely sparring with the most technical guy there by a huge margin. Try to learn from that. Observe the finer details in technique execution. You might know the techniques on a general level, but you won’t have the finer details that your professor has. Make sure your intensity allows you to see these smaller details that you won’t see anywhere else in your gym.
2.Learn the difference between being a “spaz” and doing proper high intensity sparring. Sparring at a high intensity does not mean injuring your partner, it does not mean hitting them with your arms while you’re trying to escape side control and it certainly does not mean cranking the submissions. Learn how to spar at intense levels by increasing the speed of your transitions and always be on the offense. However, reaching high intensity levels of sparring require you to know your technique well, so that you can execute it at full speed. If you are not at that point, slow down and make sure you execute your technique well.
3.Use it as a chance to improve your gameplan. Try executing your gameplan on your professor. Try your sweeps on him. Your professor will probably expose some flaws in your plan, flaws that you can address afterwards to make your plan even better.
4.Don’t see it as a chance to prove yourself. Sparring with your professor should not be seen as a chance to prove yourself. Regardless of how you spar, you are still going to get tapped. See it as a chance to better yourself, to learn some technical aspects, not as a chance to get one more stripe.
5.If possible, ask for some tips afterwards. Your professor will most likely have some useful advice after you have just sparred with him. If possible, ask him to give you some feedback on your game after your sparring. You will get some valuable insight into what your strengths and weaknesses are.
6.See the “scope” behind the positions you find yourself in. During sparring, your professor will put you in certain positions to see what your reaction is from there. Try to figure out what you’re supposed to do when you find yourself in bad situations. Most likely your professor is giving you enough time to think of something and execute it. This will prove really helpful for you in the long run as it will make you link certain positions to certain actions.
7. A tap is just that. A tap. Remember the golden rule in Jiu Jitsu. Leave your ego at the door. Tap when you have to, don’t become too ambitious and arrogant while trying to prove yourself. This is closely related to point number 4.
8. Don’t stall. If you are being let into certain positions, try and don’t stall there, if for some reason you wanted to. Your professor is giving you valuable time sparring with him, use that time, don’t waste it with stalling.
9. Enjoy. Sparring with your professor will probably prove to be your best sparring that day. Multitude of positions, transitions, sub attempts, etc. Learn to enjoy that.